Friday, February 27, 2009

The Great House Hunt of 2009

We are house hunting. Finally, after just over 12 years together, various dorm rooms, apartments, and everything in between we are ready to buy a house. You'd think it would be easy.
The answer is no.
I figured out that we are picky.
I guess we should be, as we have waited so long we shouldn't just jump into it. I think we have seen nearly 20 houses so far throughout various towns in the greater Philadelphia area. We have spent the weekends of the past 2 months driving to various open houses and showings with our realtor. Mo has been a trooper for the most part, spending so much time in the car. So far, there have been a few that are close, but something wasn't right.
For example, we looked at this great older home, over 100 years old. We love the character of old houses. It had recently been updated. It had gorgeous hardwood floors, a large, modern kitchen, 5 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, an impressive backyard with enough room for a swingset, above ground pool, garage, and playspace. We got really excited about it until... Bry and our realtor went into the basement.
Apparently the act of sistering the ocassional floor joists isn't too big of deal. However, when EVERY SINGLE JOIST has been sistered on both sides, the only option is to replace the foundation.
Yup, you read that right. The house we liked the most so far, would need a new foundation.
Needless to say, we walked away from it, and back into the pool we dove.
We have seen some homes that have been recently renovated but lack the bedroom space. Yesterday, we saw a gorgeous 3 bedroom home that had a master bedroom suite that made my jaw hit the floor. Unfortunately it was 3 bedrooms, one of which was tiny.
We saw a number of houses that have had nothing done to them in some time. For example, the one home looked like it had been the home of the 1970! It had a digital clockface as part of the master bathroom mirror. It also had a security alarm system that reminded me of something out a James Bond movie. It also had an intercom system.
There have been so many houses, so many stories. If you ask, I'll tell. But for now, it's back into the car tomorrow. There are open houses to visit, and hopefully we'll find "our" house.
Hopefully, I know Mo is getting sick of the car!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, to Grandmother's house we go! (Grandpops was there too!)

Bry had a conference to attend so I had the brainstorm to have a sleepover at my parents house on Monday into Tuesday. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. Instead of staying home alone with Mo, I'd go to my parents and let them spoil their favorite (also their only) grandchild.
Our trip started before making it into the car. It's hard to believe how much stuff a nearly eleven month old child needs.
Here is our list: pack and play, bag filled with clothes, diaper bag, bag filled with toys, lunchbox filled with food, & snacks, and bag filled with MY clothes.(We were only gone for 24 hours!) I think the younger the child, the more stuff you end up lugging with you.
I intially was going to write about the whole trip, but really, all the little tidbits aren't too exciting. I'll just sum up the major events in bullet points.
* Even though we were only going to be there overnight, my mom picked up two pints of blueberries, a bag of cheese pieces, and grapes because she knew Mo likes these foods. (We ended up eating none of them there, but took the blueberries home!)
* Great Aunt Mary (who recently was "let go" by the local catholic school where she was a secretary for over 30 years. It was a surprise to her, as she was basically told when she arrived at work one morning, "You're services are no longer needed!" Not very Christian thing to do!) is a pretty good Wii bowler for being over 70 years old!
* My mom find Moira to be the absolute center of the universe and she can do no wrong in her eyes.
* When my mom suggests driving to meet my sister for dinner and says it's not too far, her defintion of "not too far" is about an hour.
* Friendly's still makes good chocolate ice cream with reese's peanut butter cup sundaes.
* Moira likes whipped cream.
* My brother is partially responsible for it taking over an hour for me to get Moira to go to sleep. Uncle Joe-Joe had fun with is favorite Mo-Mo.
* My kid is a loud sleeper and makes way too much noise!
* I should know that sharing a room with Moira will ultimately end up with me sharing the bed with her.
* My dad likes to download music that he thinks Moira will like so that they can dance together.
* Going out to brunch with my dad's mom (Mom-mom L.), my mom,& Mo was a really nice way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.
* Raspberry Melba French Toast = One winning breakfast.
* Moira will steal buttered toast from the table. Be sure to keep it out of arms reach.
* My kid will nap in the car as long as it is running, the minute you take the keys out of the ignition her eyes pop open.
While I enjoyed the time with my parents, seeing my great Aunt Mary, Mom-Mom L, and talking with my brother and sister, I honestly can say there is no place like home!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Save Jack's Big Music Show!

I admit, Moira is like her parents (and grandparents for that matter). She loves watching television. I know it's bad for her, but I don't feel nearly as guilty because of Noggin which is Nickeloden's pre-school channel. The programs are actually educational and between the episodes they run little skits, music videos, and suggestions for crafts, snacks and the like.
Moira's favorite show is about 3 puppets who love music in their clubhouse. It's called Jack's Big Music Show. Besides the exposure to different musical instruments and songs, they usually have two music videos in each episode. Usually Laurie Berkner Band sings some song related to the topic and then there's another catchy little tune that follows. Mo has been known to clap her hands during these videos. I also think this is how she learned how to dance. I consider it the best show on Noggin as it intertwines real people with puppets and exsposes children to so many different aspects and genres of music through both voice and instruments.

We're sad now.
I just found out Nickeloden has suspended making anymore episodes of Jack's Big Music Show. The best show on Noggin (in my humble opinion) has been halted.
So I ask my readers to help Save Jack's Big Music Show Click here to find out how you can help!
If not for me, do it for Moira and the thousands of other pre-schoolers who are learning to appreciate music from this show.

Monday, February 16, 2009

UPDATE: Date for the CT Scan

I will now be holding my breath until April 3rd. Moira is scheduled for her CT scan on that day. My baby will turn 1 on Wednesday and then on Friday we're going to get her doped up and God willing, find out that the bump is nothing to worry about.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Birthmark & The Bump

When Moira was born, like any good parent we laughed when she let out that first cry and then when they gave her to Bry we happily counted her fingers and toes. As the days went by and we got more familiar with her we kept track of her feedings, diaper changes, and sleeping schedule. We feel in love with her beautiful face. I mean, how could you not? It was early on, about the second week of her life that we noticed the red mark on her forehead. As we went to those early pediatrician appointments he told us that he assumed it was a stork bite and that it was nothing for us to worry about. So we didn't worry.
I lied. I worried. I wondered if it was something else and sure enough it is.
As the red patch got bigger and deeper in color, we realized it wasn't a stork bite. Instead, our pediatirican informed us it was a hemangioma. Again, he reassured us that of all the birthmarks, strawberry hemangiomas are the best to have. They typically stop growing at about a year and within 5-7 years completely disappear. We've noticed a change. 3 Months

9 months

At first, I was kind of embarrassed by the "hemang". I would try to put hats on her to cover it up. I didn't want to answer "what's on your baby's head?" or "Oh, did she hurt herself?". It got annoying. I learned quickly how blunt people can be, as strangers had no problem just coming right up to me and asking what was wrong with her.
Nothing is wrong with her, it's just a F---ing birthmark!!!
Bryan intially googled and searched the web for doctors and specialist and more information on hemangiaomas.I recommend not googling it. We realized early on how lucky Mo was to have it on her forehead. Bry saw pictures of babies with entire nostrils or eyelids covered by the hemangiaoma. He read of children having them in their inner ears or covering their mouth. I gradually got over hiding it, and now we don't even see it. It's just part of Mo.
Around 2 months we also realized that the bump on the other side of her head that wasn't going away. Initially our pediatirican told us that he thought it was just a bruise from delivery. I mean, that made sense. Delivery is quite the traumatic event. As time went by, we realized that the "bump" wasn't going away. It looked like a small marble under her skin.

Like the hemagiaoma, our pediatrician recommended that we just monitor it. As we went to our 3 month and then the 6 month appointment the "bump" was still there. It was at the 3 month appointment that he used the term dermoid cyst for the first time. Again, Bry searched the web and I talked to my sis, the famous Dr. Jeanna 2nd year pediatric resident and Lynsay, our Physican Assistant friend. We both pretty much found the same thing: not too dangerous, most likely needs to be surgically removed, can cause infection, miniscule cancer risk.

What would we do next? Have it removed? But that would be surgery...on her FACE! Let it stay? What if got infected? What if it was cancerous?

We decided to see a specialist. It makes be so thankful to be in the greater Philadelphia region as The Children's Hosptial of Philadelphia is only a short car ride away. After Bry's research we met with a pediatric plastic surgeon affliated with CHoP. Of course when we walked in we assumed everyone would think we were there for the hemagioma.
We were right. Even the doctor asked if that was our reason for the visit. He then examined the cyst and gave us the news we expected. It most likely was a Periorbital dermoid cysts (a cyst occurring near the eyebrow often found in children) and he suggested that it should be removed. He also explained that while he doesn't believe the cyst to be a dumbell configuration (a cyst extends through a suture line in the skull like a dumbell) we would have to do a C.T. Scan to rule it out.

I am a little nervous as Moira will have to be sedated for the procedure. I don't like that one bit. We have decided to wait until she is at least one year old, as Dr. Jeanna pointed out, at a year old, she is abetter age for the anesthesia. I realize my baby would not sit completely still for the scan and so sedation is our only option, but I still worry. I assume like any parent in this situation.
So now we wait. That is where we are right now. Waiting for the doc to call us back with our C.T. Scan appointment. Wiating to rule out the barbell cyst. Waiting for the time to have the cyst cut out. Waiting for the bump to go bye-bye.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

God, am I lucky.

The internet is an amazing medium. One can find a recipe for dinner using ketchup packets, saltines, and chicken breasts, while simultaneously reconnecting with your best friend in Kindergarten on facebook. You remember her, the girl who would take her braids and fold them over her chin like Abraham Lincoln and make you giggle uncontroablly. The internet also offers so many points of interest, websites, blogs, message boards, virtual tours, and social networks.
When Bry and I got engaged, I discoverd the holy grail of wedding planning sites THE KNOT. This site not only offered a plethura of vendor information, but more importantly had various message boards dedicated to such important wedding planning topics as "the dress", "ceremony ideas", and "wedding woes". While all those specialty boards were helpful, I screenname: Notbridezilla (I really was a low key about most of the wedding planning, so a fitting name) found the New Jersey boards. These were other engaged gals planning weddings in the great Garden State. When I first started visiting the board, I lurked. Ocassionally posting a response, but never signing my name. As the countdown on my ticker got closer to wedding day, I began to visit the board more regularly. These girls could answer questions that no one else could answer for me. I learned that ribbon wands were a waste of money, but a basket filled with tampons and mouthwash in the reception venue was a must. I learned that ivory shirts for your groom and groomsmen look dirty in the pictures, and I learned that you could buy the same gown that you found at a speciality shop in Jersey from Pearl's Place in Louisana for significantly less. (I was too chicken to do that!)
Once the wedding was over, and I went through my wedding withdrawl, I noticed that "The Knot" had opened a sister site called "The Nest". I ventured over and saw names that were familiar to me on the "The Knot". Now these former brides were married and looking to start families, buy homes, and unfortuntatly, some were getting divorced. No longer the bride, I changed to Notwifezilla (hence my title) and gradually I became an official NJ Nestie.
Over the past two years, I have actually became friends in real life with many of my online friends. I have shared in their successes and offered advice when they asked of it. I too have shared my own questions, concerns, asked for guidance, support, and on some days clarity. After having Moira, these gals were a lifeline. I am forever thankful for their support.
It was also through The Nest, that I am constantly reminded how very lucky I am to have a healthy, beautiful daughter. I thank God daily for that.
Some of my fellow nesties are dealing with issues far greater then I have ever had to deal. Please take a minute if nothing else to say a little prayer or give a "vibe".

Tuesday Whitt Memorial Fund.

Jackson Malia Fund

Sydney & Carynne's Story

Mo says Thank you!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

No! No! Mo-Mo!

It has happened.
We have had to baby proof.
I should have realized that our days of using furniture and larger toys as baby gates where numbered the day she realized she could go under things. She's not quite sure of her own size yet as evident as her attempt to go under her play table.

Being the loving caregiver, I first took two pictures as my poor little girl cried out in frustration before I removed her. She's into everything now! She's figured out how to open the cabinets, she pushes open doors, and I know she's fairly new to the walking thing, but I swear she can run! Usually her escaping is followed with a shout of glee and giggles as either Bry or I chase after her.
We made a little trip to Babies R Us yesterday and bought a new gate. The kitchen is now safe from baby, that is until she figures out how to open it.

We also picked up so cabinet locks. SUCCESS!!

The only thing I realized is that I forgot to get toilet locks. I realized this when I found her rubber duckie floating in the toilet. Thank God we had flushed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Say Cheese, Read, and Some Room for Dessert!

Moira is now 10 months old. I thought I had trouble with her 9 month shoot. Boy was I wrong! I guess I should never underestimate the squirmy nature of a little girl.
This is the best picture...seriously.

I'll share a couple of the others. I think from now on, I have three choices of how to take these pics.
Option one - on the floor, so I don't have to worry that she'll fall off the bed
Option two - Tag team style. Bry taking the pic while I wrangle/wrestle with her.
Option three - Sleeping baby shot- naptime, bedtime She will be still then.

It's only been five days, and already February has been eventful for our sweet Mo. Moira decided that she needed something new to suck on. Apparently the teething rings, and numerous plastic toys were not enough for her. What better then a book? She found it quite yummy.

Needless to say, we won't be visiting the children's section of the library anytime soon. Bye-Bye Barnes & Noble and Borders. My kid EATS books! Not exactly something you want to share with other mommies.
Since the destruction of said book, we figured perhaps she needed a little something different in the food department. Our pediatrician gave us the green light on dairy and thus far, yogurt has been Mo's new favorite food. As we waltzed down the aisles of Wegman's, Bry and I got ourselves some ice cream. I had the following bit of enlightenment: Ice cream is dairy. Moira can have dairy, therefore Moira can have ice cream! I guess that class on Logic at SHU paid off! Bry agreed, why not give her a little?
Ever the food snob, we got her the best stuff. Plus the carton only has 5 ingredients- cream, skim milk, egg yolks, sugar, & vanilla. Like her mommy, she thoroughly enjoyed every little spoonful. YUM!
Next stop water ice! Remember Rita's gives out freebies on the first day of Spring. Which, thanks to google, I just found out is March 20.